Michigan man poached deer, sometimes while drunk, to relieve 'frustration,' state's DNR says

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man admitted to illegally poaching deer in Kent County, Michigan, while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, as well as illegally spearing snapping turtles, the state’s Department of Natural Resources said.

On Friday, 29-year-old Edward Trout of Cedar Springs pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanors: two counts of hunting and fishing without a license; taking game from a vehicle; taking and possessing deer out of season; and using illegal fishing devices. He faces up to $2,750 in fines, in addition to jail time and the loss of his hunting and fishing privileges, the DNR said in a news release.

In the past five months, the DNR received information from eight tipsters on its poaching hotline, some of whom reported hearing gunfire or finding deer carcasses in the northeast part of the county. Conservation officers began investigating in January.

In February, officers had become aware of 13 deer that had been shot and abandoned in the area. Another community member contacted the hotline shortly afterward, reporting that there were rumors of Trout driving around at night, shooting deer from his vehicle.

Officers interviewed Trout, who admitted that he went out and shot at deer on three separate instances, according to the news release. He said he “relieved frustration by driving around at night, listening to music and occasionally shooting his pistol into vacant fields from his pickup truck,” many times while under the influence of alcohol and/or marijuana, the DNR wrote.

Trout admitted that he had shot at least five deer. While investigating, officers uncovered evidence that Trout had been shooting deer from his vehicle since 2020. Trout admitted to this behavior when presented with the evidence, the DNR said.

Trout was set to appear in court for three charges in connection to the deer killings in early June but failed to show up. Since then, he accumulated two more charges for illegally hunting turtles, sometimes with a spear, the DNR said. Officers added that they found several speared turtles during the course of the investigation, including one with a spear still in it.

Trout’s hunting and fishing privileges have been suspended until his next court date on July 19. His firearm, crossbow, spear, and “other evidence” have been seized, the DNR said.

The DNR urges anyone with information about wildlife crimes to use its online reporting form or contact its Report All Poaching hotline by calling 1-800-292-7800.

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